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Jeff Sessions is reportedly nixing an Obama-era policy that let states do their own thing with legal marijuana

The Justice Department is doing away with a policy implemented by the Obama administration which allowed states to legalize marijuana without significant oversight or interference by federal law enforcement, The Associated Press reported Thursday. The move is perplexing, because it flies in the face of recommendations made by a 2017 task force Sessions himself commissioned, which found no evidence to justify deviating from the policy, which took a hands-off approach to recreational marijuana enforcement at the state level, and focused instead on cracking down on those who gave marijuana to minors and criminal groups.

While eight states have legalized recreational marijuana use, in the eyes of the federal government, marijuana is still illegal. Sessions has said in the past he believes marijuana is linked to violent crime. By doing away with the Obama-era policy, Sessions seems to be opening the door for federal law enforcement officials to really crack down on the substance, even in states where it is legal. As MSNBC's Pete Williams puts it, Sessions' proposal is effectively "taking the leash off the [federal attorneys,] but it's not saying sic' em."

Several states are set to make a pretty penny by taxing marijuana sales. AP points out that Sessions' directive is likely to cast a cloud of uncertainty and insecurity over the burgeoning marijuana industries. In October 2016, a Gallup poll found national public support for marijuana legalization to be as high as 64 percent.